Schwinn recently added a new elliptical to their lineup, the 490, and it has immediately usurped the older 470 as Schwinn’s premiere home model.
It’s always exciting to see a new product being launched, but for me, it’s even more exciting in this case because Schwinn hasn’t released any new ellipticals in a while.
I actually can’t remember the last time they updated their elliptical lineup…
Regardless, the 490 has some interesting features that will likely be a hit for home-gymers looking for a reasonably-priced elliptical.
It comes with a nice selection of built-in workout programs, is bluetooth compatible with the JRNY fitness app, and it comes with decline capabilities, but what stands out most to me is how compact the frame is.
I’ll go into more detail later, but the 490 is a solid foot shorter than the 470 and still comes with a 20″ stride length, which is good news for people working with limited floor space.
Sure, the frame could be a little heavier-duty, but Schwinn’s warranty is pretty solid.
In a nutshell, I don’t think the 490 is the nicest elliptical in its price range, but I can see it being a solid choice for folks looking for a compact elliptical.
Before you decide though, make sure you keep reading – in this review, I’ll go over everything this elliptical has to offer, including where it falls a bit short.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not the 490 is the right choice for your home gym.
The Schwinn 490 Elliptical
What I will say though, is that as budget-friendly fitness brands go, they’re easily one of the better options out there.
It’s also worth knowing that Schwinn is owned by Nautilus, Inc., the same company that owns Nautilus (duh) and Bowflex.
Bowflex is kinda in a world of its own, but I mention this because Nautilus and Schwinn tend to have very similar lineups.
So, if you’re interested in a Schwinn product, it’s not a bad idea to see what Nautilus has in stock too because sometimes one brand has a better price than the other on a similar item.
Generally speaking though, Nautilus products tend to be a little heavier-duty and just a little more expensive.
And in the case of the 490, Nautilus doesn’t really have any ellipticals that are this compact…
Anyway, as I’m writing this, Schwinn has the 490 listed for $1299.
This is their most expensive elliptical to date, but I would still consider the 490 to be moderately-priced as home ellipticals go.
It’s also a pretty competitive price range with several other nice models to choose from.
- 20″ stride length
- Compact footprint
- 25 resistance levels
- 330 lb weight limit
- 13 built-in workout programs
- Bluetooth compatible
- JRNY compatible
- Bluetooth speakers
- -5 – 15% incline/decline
- USB charging
- Multi-grip handles
- Good warranty
- Reasonably priced
- Lightweight flywheel
- Could be heavier-duty
- Lot of competition in this price range
Let’s start this review off with a rundown on the performance specs – and when it comes to performance, stride length is about as important as anything.
This spec tells us how far apart our legs will stretch with each step and it’s important because it gives us a good idea as to how comfortable we’ll be during workouts.
Simply put – if the stride length is too short (or too long), it’s going to feel awkward.
Your optimal stride length depends largely on your height and personal preferences, but most quality home ellipticals come with a 20″ stride because this size fits most folks pretty comfortably.
Well, Schwinn’s 490 comes with a 20″ stride length, so we can check that box.
With a stride length of this size, folks of most heights should feel as if they have enough room to stretch out comfortably, without feeling like they have to stretch too far with each stride.
You might also notice that the 490 utilizes a dual-rail system for each pedal – this tends to add additional support, making for a more durable product, so it’s great to see here.
The stride length is great, but it’s surprising to see it on the 490 considering how compact its footprint is.
More specifically, this elliptical only takes up a footprint of 58.1″ x 33.9″, making it a good foot or so shorter than a lot of full size home ellipticals.
This means the 490 might be able to fit in tighter spaces where a longer elliptical wouldn’t be able to go.
It’s important to consider the size of an elliptical to make sure you actually have the space for it, but I also like to look at the assembled weight too because this spec gives us an idea as to how stable or heavy-duty we can expect it to feel.
And I always like to see heavier machines because they tend to feel more secure during use (even though it does make them a little harder to move around).
Well, the 490 comes with an assembled weight of 187 lb, which isn’t awful, but it’s a little lighter than some of the other top ellipticals in this price range.
To be fair though, neither of these ellipticals is as compact as the 490, so there’s a tradeoff there.
Even though it’s a little lighter-weight, the 490 still comes with an impressive 330 lb weight capacity, so it’ll be able to safely handle most users.
Overall, I like that the 490 comes with a 20″ running surface and the compact frame is great for homes with smaller workout areas.
Having a comfortable stride length is important, but so is having a smooth acting resistance system.
Home ellipticals like the 490 operate much like most exercise bikes in that they both use weighted flywheels and magnetic resistance mechanisms.
Magnetic systems are nice because they offer quiet operation and provide resistance without using a brake to physically touch anything.
When it comes to flywheels, heavier is usually better, especially with affordable machines like the 490.
Heavier flywheels create more momentum as they spin, which essentially helps the pedals keep moving a little between strides.
The result is usually a smoother pedaling motion.
Most higher-end home ellipticals come with flywheels in the 20 – 30 lb range, with more affordable ellipticals coming with flywheels in the 10 – 18 lb range.
With this in mind, the 490 comes with an 11 lb (5 kg) flywheel.
This is pretty light, especially for an elliptical over $1k, so this is a little disappointing, especially considering there are similarly priced options packing 20 lb+ flywheels.
On the plus side, the 490 comes with 25 resistance levels, which gives you a lot of control over the intensity of your workouts.
Having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more total resistance, but it does mean you can make smaller adjustments to the available resistance.
Which I think is a good thing in its own right.
Overall though, lighter flywheels tend to provide less overall resistance than heavier ones, so if you’re looking for an elliptical that can provide a ton of resistance, it’s better to go with an option packing at least 20 lb under the hood.
Schwinn’s 490 Elliptical comes with the following included features:
7″ console- this elliptical comes with a modestly-sized LCD console. Nothing too fancy going on here, but it makes it easy enough to see all your workout stats.
13 workouts- the 490 is a bit old-school in the fact that you don’t need a streaming membership to access workouts. Nope, it comes with several workout profiles built in so you can simply choose your workout and get started.
JRNY compatible- that said, if you’re interested in streaming, the 490 is bluetooth compatible with JRNY, which gives you access to instructor-led workouts and metric tracking. You’ll need a smart phone or tablet to connect to the elliptical and view the app of course. I think Schwinn includes a free trial membership to JRNY with purchase, so you can check it out and see if it’s worth the monthly fee.
Incline/decline- this elliptical can reach a top incline of 15% for added workout variety, but it can also decline down to -5%, something not many other ellipticals are doing these days. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the decline (I think it feels weird on treadmills and exercise bikes), but if you like the idea of mimicking hiking downhill, you might enjoy this feature.
Bluetooth- the console is bluetooth compatible with apps (JRNY and Zwift), but it’s also compatible with bluetooth heart rate monitors (one not included).
Bluetooth speakers- there’s also a bluetooth speaker built-into the console, allowing you to listen to your music wirelessly through the elliptical.
USB charging- there’s a USB charging port as well, so you can keep your device charged up during workouts.
Multi-grip handles- you’ll notice that the handles are large, offering different grip options for your hands. This ensures we can all find a comfortable grip, but it also helps you isolate different muscle groups during workouts. There are also buttons that allow you to conveniently control the incline/decline from the handles.
Media shelf- there’s a little shelf running right through the middle of the console, giving you a place to put your tablet/phone. Unfortunately, it’ll block sight of the 490’s display though.
Water bottle holder- and yes, there’s even a water bottle holder, so you don’t have any excuses for not staying hydrated during workouts.
If you decide to purchase the 490, the assembly process shouldn’t be too complicated.
It’s always a good idea to have a second person around to assist, but if you’re comfortable following pretty basic instruction manuals, you should be good to go.
The process itself is pretty straightforward.
You’ll have to connect the rail assembly to the main frame and then attach the console mast, the console, the legs, pedals, and handlebars.
There are a few cables to connect and a few covers to attach, but there’s nothing too complicated going on here.
And Schwinn even includes a handy little ratchet that should make it easier to get those bolts in.
Schwinn covers their 490 Elliptical with the following home warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year electronics
- 90 day labor
Alright, not a bad warranty here.
A lifetime frame warranty would be nice, but 10 years is pretty good for this price range; same goes for 2 years on the parts.
90 days on labor is pretty short, considering the industry norm is 1 year, so there’s room for improvement there.
But overall, I think Schwinn’s warranty is pretty good.
Overall, I like the 490 and I think it has a lot to offer for the price range.
The decline feature is neat (I guess) and the ability to pair with JRNY is a nice perk, but again – I think it’s the compact footprint and the 20″ stride that impress me most here.
At around $1300, I think it’s priced fairly, but it might behoove Schwinn to drop that price just a little because this puts it in direct competition with Sole’s E25, which I think is a better buy.
The E25 comes with a 20″ stride, 20 lb flywheel, 20 resistance levels, 20 incline levels, a better warranty, and a heavier-duty frame.
But it’s a foot longer, so it isn’t nearly as compact.
There’s also Horizon’s 7.0 AE, which is even a little cheaper at around $1k, and it comes with a 20″ stride, a 23 lb flywheel, 20 levels of incline, a heavier-duty frame, and a better warranty.
But again, over a foot longer.
So, my point is I think there are better ellipticals out there for this price, but they tend to take up more room.
If you’re working with limited floor space (or like the idea of declining), I think the 490 would be a good option.